Gh rapper Smoke
While Azonto still grabs most of the headlines, Ghanaian rap - better known as GH Rap - has been developing in leaps and bounds since rappers started moving away from hiplife (the hybrid of hip-hop and highlife that emerged in the early 90's) towards plain hip-hop.
That said, all credit to Reggie Rockstone for making hip-hop locally relevant by blending it with something homegrown, however, the new stuff is better at crossing geographical borders. Some of this is no doubt the result of the growing international receptiveness for urban African music in general, especially music from West Africa, but that's only half the story. The rest is down to the way artists have shaped the GH Rap style, beats and production.
Hiplife was probably a necessary stepping stone towards what we're hearing today in GH Rap, and while some might argue that it isn't as localised as hiplife was, the subjects explored and the languages employed - English mixed with Pidgin English and Ghanaian languages like Twi, Ga or Ewe - offer enough hints that this is Ghanaian music and that the artists want you to know it's Ghanaian music.
And top drawer talent is there in abundance. Even if we leave aside artists who are mostly preoccupied with Azonto (such as E.L.), that still leaves us with a lot of very credible rappers like Sarkodie, of course, but also M.anifest, D-Black, Ayigbe Edem, Asem, Blitz the Ambassador, Kwaw Kese, FOKN Bois, Tinny, Tiffany, Eazzy, UK-based rapper Trebla, C-Real, Scientific [I've linked to examples of their work rather than to artist websites so you can see immediately what they are capable of], not to mention beatmasters/producers like DJ Juls and Killbeatz of the group R2Bees.
I think a Ghana-Nigeria emcee battle would be quite exciting right now.
And there are new artists coming through all the time, too. One that's new to us, at any rate, is Smoke. See what you think of his kicking single T.I.A. (This Is Africa), and give him a holla on Twitter or Facebook if you like what you're hearing. We certainly wanna hear more from him.
GH Rap is in good shape, and the future looks bright indeed.